Apple Says It's Looking Into Making Emoji More Diverse

"There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard."

For better or worse, emoji have fully infiltrated our digital parlance, rearing their goofy, mostly inexplicable reaction faces in everything from Beyonce tributes to the stitching on smoking slippers. They aren't easy to explain, but that's kind of the point; emoji are easy stand-ins when we're too lazy to search for the right words.

There are, of course, characters for most situations: There are pints clashing for when we want a beer; a monkey covering its face, presumably for feigning embarrassment; and a bulging purple eggplant to communicate our desire for vegetarian dining options.



And while there is a man with a mustache, a smiling Asian guy with a hat, and same-sex couples holding hands, there has been, to this point, at least one rather glaring omission, as perhaps best expressed by the dude who starred in Smart Guy, the oft-overlooked but enjoyable in hindsight late '90s TV show:

We've covered this omission before. Only now, Apple might be doing something about it. Joey Parker at MTV's Act blog says that, after voicing his concerns to Apple CEO Tim Cook in an email, he received the following response from Katie Cotton, Apple vice president of worldwide corporate communications:

Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.

So, not only does Tim Cook apparently read emails from random culture bloggers (who would have thought?), but the character palette of the near future could contain a wider range of faces to more accurately reflect the beautiful spectrum of people who use it. An admittedly small gesture, but a welcome one nonetheless... if it ever happens. Insert your preferred emoji for showcasing approval here.

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2 Comments

  • DrAggie Carson-Arenas

    Hi Mr. Gayomali,

    Read your piece, “APPLE SAYS IT'S LOOKING INTO MAKING EMOJI MORE DIVERSE” (March 26, 2014) with gusto.

    Indeed, there is a need to diversify the emoji character set – ‘localized’ even enabling every culture share each own particular or peculiar emoji. (Please check your e-mail for the “Emoji: Pusong Pinoy [Pilipino Hearted]) I sent.” We would love to share these to the world, or to the Unicode Consortium.

    Please be reminded the Philippines has a population of almost 100-million. This could mean a lot of emoji…

    Cordially yours,

    Dr. Aggie Carson-Arenas Las Vegas, NV